Issue 1 begins in Arkham Asylum with Jean Loring – who ended up in Arkham following the murders she committed in IDENTITY CRISIS – being tricked by the spirit of Eclipso in the black diamond into accepting him into herself. Imbued with its powers, Loring escapes the asylum.
Three weeks later in Gotham City, Ragman captures and punishes a murderer before being magically transported to the Forest of Mist where The Enchantress has been trapped under falling trees. The cause of the devastation, and the slaughter of several hundred other magicians, is the Spectre who battles Blackbriar Thorn above them. With discretion being the better part of valour, Ragman and Enchantress leave for the Oblivion Bar, a bar between dimensions where many other magical characters have congregated.
Over a drink, Enchantress remembers the Spectre swearing that he would destroy all magic and decides that a strike force should be formed to combat him; her open call to arms, however, receives no volunteers. Ragman states that any fight should be carried out by the “big guns” of the magical world: Dr Fate, Madames Xanadu and the Phantom Stranger. However, Detective Chimp reveals that the Phantom Stranger has been turned into a mouse by the Spectre and, agreeing with Enchantress, claims that it’s up to them to stop the Spectre.
At the Rock of Eternity, the wizard Shazam sends his champion, Captain Marvel, off to confront the Spectre.
Issue 2 begins with Enchantress connecting with the mind of the Eclipso possessed Loring in order to see how she seduced the Spectre, convincing him that the source of evil was magic. In the Oblivion Bar, Enchantress is helped now by Detective Chimp, Nightmaster, Blue Devil, Nightshade and Ragman. Nightmaster assumes easy leadership of the group and orders the customers out of the bar.
In a series of flashbacks, the Spectre is shown dealing with the “big guns”, transforming the Phantom Stranger into a mouse, imprisoning Dr Fate within his own helmet and burning out Madame Xanadu’s eyes to prevent her reading her tarot cards. Once that was done, he attacked various other magicians and places of magic.
Nightmaster and his team return to the Forest of Mist to allow Enchantress to pick up the Spectre’s trail so that they can find and attack Eclipso and free the Spectre from her control; Detective Chimp enlists Nightshade’s help in securing a back-up plan he has and leave the group to find the Spectre. Enchantress transports the remaining members to Budapest where the Spectre battles Captain Marvel. With him distracted, the team prepare to attack Eclipso.
In Dayton, Ohio, meanwhile, Detective Chimp and Nightshade search for a specific person to help them combat the Spectre.
Back in Budapest, as the battle continues, the Enchantress begins channelling the powers of anyone who uses magic, funnelling their powers into Captain Marvel to aid him against the Spectre. Blue Devil hurls his trident at Eclipso, wounding her, before he becomes able to see the number of magicians that the Enchantress is channelling who include Green Lantern Alan Scott, Zatanna and even the Phantom Stranger who is still in muse-form and travelling in the pocket of Detective Chimp. With all the extra power, Captain Marvel grows to an enormous size and begins to beat the Spectre.
In Dayton, Detective Chimp and Nightshade found the house of their prospective helper and speak to her father, Mr Zechlin.
Issue 4 begins with Detective Chimp giving a run down of his origin; how he went from a trained chimp in a circus to finding the Fountain of Youth that granted him the ability to speak to any animal and prevented him from ageing. Mr Zechlin wants the Chimp and Nightshade to leave but before they can go, they are left numb by the Enchantress’s spell that channels their magical abilities into Captain Marvel.
In Budapest, the Captain at last has the upper hand against the Spectre and is close to defeating him. The strain of the spell on the Enchantress is too much, however, and she loses control, becoming evil and turning against her own team-mates.
In Dayton, Lori Zechlin (Black Alice) returns to her home to find Detective Chimp and Nightshade still frozen on the sofa while her father asks if she is “some kind of super hero?”
With the Enchantress no longer channeling magicians power into him, Captain Marvel begins to fail in his struggle against the Spectre, while Nightmaster and his team – which he suddenly calls the Shadowpact – are now faced with taking down Enchantress. As they are distracted, the Spectre, having beaten Marvel, manages to pull Blue Devil’s trident out of Eclipso who then flies them away from the battle ground. As Detective Chimp, Nightshade and Black Alice arrive, Blue Devil knocks out Enchantress.
In the Oblivion Bar, the Shadowpact and Captain Marvel celebrate holding their own against the Spectre. Marvel leaves them and returns to the Rock of Eternity and the wizard Shazam who is readying himself to combat the Spectre directly. Detective Chimp reveals that Black Alice has the ability to borrow other magic users’ powers which should give them the ability to defeat the Spectre by using his own against him.
The Shadowpact travel to an uncharted Indonesian island and lure the Spectre there by spreading rumours of a vault containing magical weapons buried on the island. As Eclipso and the Spectre arrive, the Shadowpact attack with Black Alice stealing the Spectre’s powers. However, without his powers, the Spectre becomes just an empty spirit, impervious to any attack, while Eclipso was more than able to hold her own against the rest of the team.
Issue 6 begins with the battle in full flight, Eclipso attacking the Shadowpact with Blue Devil’s own trident before Black Alice attacks her with the Spectre’s powers. Detective Chimp, informed of Eclipso’s weakness to sunlight by the Phantom Stranger (who is still a mouse in his pocket) comes up with a plan to defeat Eclipso by having Nightshade teleport her off the island.
The Spectre, meanwhile, regains his powers from Black Alice and travels to the Rock of Eternity where he easily defeats Captain Marvel before engaging Shazam.
Back on the island, Nightshade tells the team that she has placed Eclipso in a non-decaying orbit around the sun, preventing her from using her powers. As the team plan a strategy to combat the Spectre once more, the Phantom Stranger appears, weak but once again in human form and tells them that the battle has passed into other hands.
At the Rock of Eternity, the wizard Shazam uses the Blue Beetle scarab that Ted Kord left there in COUNTDOWN TO INFINITE CRISIS as a weapon against the Spectre, along with other magical artifacts. However, the Spectre is too strong and absorbs all of Shazam’s power which causes the Rock to materialise above Gotham City and explode. Shards of the rock cover the city and, among other things, the scarab ends up in El Paso, Texas. The ramification of the explosion are felt in INFINITE CRISIS #1.
The Day of Vengeance Special takes place between INFINITE CRISIS #3 and #4 and begins with the Phantom Stranger, Madam Xanadu, Zatanna and Dr Fate gathering to combat the Spectre once again. The Spectre, meanwhile, continues his rampage against magic, killing the lords of order and chaos that lend their powers to Hawk and Dove, rendering the teenage heroes powerless. Rather than prevent him, however, Dr Fate suggests that they actually help the Spectre in his quest to eradicate magic.
Gathering together a huge array of magicians, Dr Fate sends them all to Gotham City to collect the pieces of the Rock of Eternity that fell on the city. The Shadowpact are given the task of collecting the spirits of the Seven Deadly Sins that were released when the Rock was destroyed.
Dr Fate confronts the Spectre and tells him that Fate needs to die in order to allow the 10th age of magic to begin; without his death, the 9th age will linger and the destruction that the Spectre has wrought will continue to build.
In Gotham, with the aid of Traci 13, Zatanna is able to identify and isolate the pieces of the Rock and begins to bring them all together.
As Dr Fate and the Spectre battle, the Shadowpact successfully capture the Seven Deadly Sins; however, agents of Alex Luthor capture Nightshade and take her to him where she will end up a prisoner on his tower.
Zatanna completes the Rock as the Spectre mortally wounds Dr Fate, an act so terrible that the Spectre’s Creator finally takes an interest in his work and withdraws him from the world. Dr Fate and the Shadowpact join Zatanna and Captain Marvel at the Rock where the Captain needs to remain to hold the Rock together. Dr Fate succumbs to his wounds and dies and, at the urging of the Shadowpact, Detective Chimp hurls the helmet of Fate out into the world.
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